Serving Writer_Feminist_Nonprofiteer Daily, 6am-11pm

"If you are looking for uplifting tales of resolute hopefulness I may not be someone you would want to talk to."

Mark Olson.jpg

Contrary, I had to talk to him.  Mark reminded me of the time my family watched that hammy 90's Annette Funicello TV movie, staring uncomfortably at Eva La Rue's coiffy martyrdom. We weren't a family that sobbed and hugged over my mother's wheelchair... I felt bad we weren't. Was THIS how we were supposed to be?

I grew up hostile and defensive. The neurotic daughter of an angry sick woman. I dug this email from Mark.

Innerer Klang, Mark's letterpress studio, is named for Wassily Kandinsky’s thing, related to his own famous disorder (synesthesia, sort of where your senses are seemingly crossed; you can smell B flat, taste green). Loosely, take it as “inner value.”  Innerer Klang is in Asheville’s river arts district, a chicly industrial neighborhood next to the French Broad River, coated in hot sun and gravel.  

The studio is a cramped ode to a fading art,romantic in its drawers of tiny metal bits, antique scales, dried drips of ink on its imperial centerpiece. I sat among this chaos of material to get a rudimentary letterpress lesson, and discover a man much softer than first impression.  Mark exudes more hope and simple love of his lonely art and anachronistic medium than he thinks. He is an artist, and we both lit up as he showed me how to use the press- tables and counters were handy for balance, as he walked over and made the thing clang and whir to life.

His life is much harder now than it used to be as a handsome Boston musician- especially when flooding in NC destroyed the entire shop almost immediately after he moved in in 2004. But, amazingly, one table filled with precious work floated. Sometimes we can have faith that things will work.